Joy and sadness are experienced by people in all culturesaround the world, but how can we tell when other people arehappy or despondent? It turns out that the expression of manyemotions may be universal. Smiling is apparently a universal signof friendliness and approval. Baring the teeth in a hostile way, asnoted by Charles Darwin in the nineteenth century, may be auniverse sign of anger. As the originator of the theory ofevolution, Darwin believed that the universal recognition of facialexpressions would have survival value. For example, facial expressions could signal the approach ofenemies (or friends) in the absence of language.
Most investigators concur that certain facial expressions suggest the same emotions in a people. Moreover, people in diverse cultures recognize the emotions manifested by the facial expressions. In classic research Paul Ekman took photographs of people exhibiting the emotions of anger, disgust, fear, happiness, and sadness. He then asked people around the world to indicate whatemotions were being depicted in them. Those queried ranged from European college students tomembers of the Fore, a tribe that dwells in the New Guinea highlands. All groups including the Fore, who had almost no contact with Western culture, agreed on the portrayed emotions. The Forealso displayed familiar facial expressions when asked how they would respond if they were thecharacters in stories that called for basic emotional responses. Ekman and his colleagues morerecently obtained similar results in a study of ten cultures in which participants were permitted toreport that multiple emotions were shown by facial expressions. The participants generally agreedon which two emotions were being shown and which emotion was more intense.
Psychological researchers generally recognize that facial expressions reflect emotional states. Infact, various emotional states give rise to certain patterns of electrical activity in the facial musclesand in the brain. The facial-feedback hypothesis argues, however, that the causal relationshipbetween emotions and facial expressions can also work in the opposite direction. According to thishypothesis, signals from the facial muscles ("feedback") are sent back to emotion centers of thebrain, and so a person's facial expression can influence that person's emotional state. ConsiderDarwin's words: "The free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it. On the otherhand, the repression, as far as possible, of all outward signs softens our emotions." Can smiling giverise to feelings of good will, for example, and frowning to anger?
Psychological research has given rise to some interesting findings concerning the facial-feedbackhypothesis. Causing participants in experiments to smile, for example, leads them to report morepositive feelings and to rate cartoons (humorous drawings of people or situations) as being morehumorous. When they are caused to frown, they rate cartoons as being more aggressive.
What are the possible links between facial expressions and emotion? One link is arousal, which is thelevel of activity or preparedness for activity in an organism. Intense contraction of facial muscles, such as those used in signifying fear, heightens arousal. Self-perception of heightened arousal thenleads to heightened emotional activity. Other links may involve changes in brain temperature andthe release of neurotransmitters (substances that transmit nerve impulses.) The contraction offacial muscles both influences the internal emotional state and reflects it. Ekman has found that theso-called Duchenne smile, which is characterized by "crow's feet" wrinkles around the eyes and asubtle drop in the eye cover fold so that the skin above the eye moves down slightly toward theeyeball, can lead to pleasant feelings.
Ekman's observation may be relevant to the British expression "keep a stiff upper lip" as arecommendation for handling stress. It might be that a "stiff" lip suppresses emotional response-aslong as the lip is not quivering with fear or tension. But when the emotion that leads to stiffeningthe lip is more intense, and involves strong muscle tension, facial feedback may heighten emotionalresponse.
1. The word despondent in the passage is closest in meaning to
2. The author mentions "Baring the teeth in a hostile way" in order to
A differentiate one possible meaning of a particular facial expression from other meanings of it
B upport Darwin's theory of evolution
C provide an example of a facial expression whose meaning is widely understood
D contrast a facial expression that is easily understood with other facial expressions
3. The word concur in the passage is closest in meaning to
4. According to paragraph 2, which of the following was true of the Fore people of
A They did not want to be shown photographs.
B They were famous for their story-telling skills.
C They knew very little about Western culture.
D They did not encourage the expression of emotions.
5. According to the passage, what did Darwin believe would happen to human emotions that werenot expressed?
A They would become less intense.
B They would last longer than usual.
C They would cause problems later.
D They would become more negative.
B C B C A
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